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    Thread: I have terrible teeth and no money.

    1. #1
      Join Date
      Apr 2006

      Default I have terrible teeth and no money.

      Hello everyone.

      I've neglected my teeth --- they've always been bad (because adult teeth came in before the baby ones were out, and they're too big for my jaw anyway), and we were always too poor to afford braces for my wayward teeth, so I just thought: Forget it, they're going to look terrible anyway.

      And so a combination of a penchant for sugar, sugar, sugar before bed, sugar over every fruit, soda, juice, not flossing, not brushing, not rinsing, really made everything worse.

      I'm 20 years old.

      For a long time, I believe I had some calculus (tartar) buildup that hardened after a lack of brushing -- I don't know what it was. It was just weird orange stains near the gum that couldn't be removed by brushing. One day I got a dental metal pick, the kind you can get in drug stores, and it was able to scrape the orange stuff away. But the spots left behind were opaque and "white" --- demineralization, I guess? Those spots have no enamel, I suppose, and are very subsceptible to decay.

      Anyway, the very obvious cavities I have that formed on the soft white spots all came from specific instances of sugar. Candy, syrup, those kind of things.

      I had some terrible, terrible tooth pain about a year ago. It seemed to flare up if I did not sleep enough. It went away after I got more rest.

      Since then, I've been very good. Brushing for 2 minutes, no more sugar or snacks, floss, mouthwash, etc. It probably delays the decay process but doesn't stop it.

      As you can imagine (and I'm sure a lot of you don't need to), my teeth have been a cause of constant embarassment, shame, etc. I can't talk without being self conscious or ashamed.

      I basically haven't been to a dentist since I was ten years old.

      Recently, I did make two dentist visits. The first one was relatively painless, except for the pricetag: about 10 fillings and couple of root canals amounting to nearly 10 grand. Yikes, right? The place was clean and modern, the dentist not overly condescending --- he did a thorough examination and seemed to care, even though his bedside manner was lacking.

      The second dentist visit was worse. I purchased a dental discount plan, hoping that I could get all that work done for half the price. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I went to a small dental office. The equipment was dirty and sterlization seemed poor. The dentist did a very careless exam and told me that I did not need any root canals. He did not seem at all concerned with my health, and even seemed incompetent. It appeared as if the heavily discounted plan was not enough money to make me a worthwhile patient. He recommended fillings instead of root canals. He recommended a couple of fillings, and said it was all I needed, despite obviously missing a lot during his unthorough exam.

      I feel as if my teeth are a worthwhile investment, and I want to get good care, because poor care would cost me more in the long run, right? Yet I want to pay as little as possible because I'd have to loan the money.

      What should I do? Right now, I'm not really afraid of going to the dentist. I'm not afraid of pain or needles. That stuff pales in comparision to the emotional toll that having bad teeth does to you. I'm only afraid of a dentist who will do a bad job, or yell at me, or charge me entirely too much, or mess me up big time.

    2. #2
      PanicMode Guest

      Default Re: I have terrible teeth and no money.

      I am so sorry to hear about your dental trouble. I can totally relate as most everyone here can also. I'm writing to give you my advice only, please think it over & get lots of opinions before making a decision.

      I won't give you the long drawn out version (it's in the journals if you're interested) but all I can say is that I tried the cheaper route, although he seemed MUCH more competent that the dentist you described. In any event, I had tons of patchwork done at the same age as you. My dentist at the time tried everything imaginable to minimize trauma to my teeth (he shyed away from crowns unless that was the very last answer). I thought that was great at the time, but now I'm 38 and all that patchwork he did has fallen apart over the years only to create much larger problems. I have all but 2 upper teeth crowned, many various root canals etc...

      My advice to you would be to somehow pay for good solid dental work now instead of waiting. Don't do patchwork like me. I'm paying for it 10 times over now.

      I'm not sure where you live, I'm in the USA. I have horrible dental insurance so 90% of the cost is out of my own pocket. We have what's called Care Credit in the office. As long as my bill is paid monthly, without missing even one single payment, over 12 months than I am able to pay it back interest free.

      Anyhow, that's my 2 cents for whatever it's worth. I know it's a very hard dilema for you. I hope whatever decision you make, that you have a beautiful smile soon & not be ashamed anymore. Life is too short.

      My best to you.

    3. #3
      Join Date
      Apr 2006

      Default Re: I have terrible teeth and no money.

      I know what its like not to have insurance...I tried to find some for myself actually, but everything I find just seems like a bad deal with long wait-times. Plus, I can't wait a year for the wait-time to pass ... I need my dental stuff down now. I'm 19 and thank God I have a reasonable job considering the rent I pay every month. I too have decided to go with Care Credit because dental work can just be done ... you don't have to wait 6 months for some sort of deadline. Its great as far as I'm concerned.

    4. #4
      Join Date
      Jan 2005

      Default Re: I have terrible teeth and no money.

      Assuming you're in the US, another option might be having the treatment at a dental school, if there is one near you. In some areas, this is very significantly cheaper than seeing a regular dentist (it seems to vary from state to state, though). The disadvantage would be that treatment tends to be stretched out over a prolongued period of time. The quality of work is generally high.
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    5. #5
      Join Date
      Apr 2006

      Default Re: I have terrible teeth and no money.

      Panicmode: Thanks so much for your words of support. It feels good just not to be alone, and your advice is valuable considering that you've gone through a similar situation.

      I'm now considering that route --- even though it would be more expensive, to have the work done properly and well now would probably save me from a lot of suffering in the future. My parents do have some money saved up, so I would probably use it all right now from them and pay them back when I start working, interest-free of course.

      SC86: Service usually comes with three options: good, fast, and cheap. But you can only pick two out of the three. I'm thinking that fast + cheap, but not good = dental discount plan, good + cheap, but not fast = dental school work and good + fast, but not cheap = a very popular and good dentist.

      Letsconnect: There is a dental school in my city, supposedly they only charge for materials and not the work, but some prices I heard of (such as $550 for an anterior root canal) doesn't seem much cheaper than the place I got quotes from.

      I also don't want to prolong treatment any longer than I already have... the condition will just worsen and cost more in the end.

      Thank you all for your advice and support, and I'd love to hear from anyone who is in a similar situation. I'm exploring all options right now.

      I took a look at some other posts in the forum, and it seems like finding a good dentist who accepts a discount plan that is like 50-60% off regular prices is unlikely, right?

    6. #6
      Join Date
      Oct 2005

      Default Re: I have terrible teeth and no money.

      Hi & I imagine you are in the US (due to the discount plan) I actually found my dentist first, and then looked into discount plans. He has never treated me any different, because of the plan. However, I would strongly recommend find a dentist that you feel comfortable with first, before investing in any treatment. It didn't sound like you were happy with either dentist??? I would first try to schedule an appointment to chat with a dentist, to see if you feel comfortable. I makes all the difference in the world when you feel comfortable with your dentist.

      That being said there are many doctors & dentists out there (US) that are more concerned with the money they are making than the patient they are treating, however, don't give up hope, there are also just as many if not more that are in thier profession to help people & will offer excellent treatment, even with a discount plan.

      Best of Luck & keep us posted

      Sorry for the delay in the reply I posted in the wrong place :-/

      PS It is very possible to find a good dentist that accepts a discount plan, I am proof of that, and it does save alot of $$$. However, it may take a little more investigating to find the right dentist.

    7. #7
      Join Date
      Apr 2006

      Default Re: I have terrible teeth and no money.

      I know that going the Care Credit route is going to really cost me alot of money, but I'd rather have healthy teeth now, than wait to save money & use insurance (plus, my dentist doesn't accept discount plans). I hardly spend the money I earn as it is, so this is something that I know I can do. I'm rather happy about it, I didn't even know it was an option until recently. I'm so relieved. Anyway you go, I hope you find just what suits your situation.

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